Players charged over ‘brawl’
Two more soccer players were charged on Tuesday, police said, over the bar brawl in which Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard stands accused of assault and affray. Goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin, 28, and midfielder Robert Grant, 18, were both charged with affray, Merseyside Police said. The pair play for Accrington Stanley, who play in League Two, the fourth tier of English soccer, three below Premier League Liverpool. A third man, Paul McGrattan, 31, was also charged on Tuesday with affray and assaulting a police officer, bringing the total number of those charged over the incident to six. Gerrard, 28, has already appeared before magistrates over his alleged part in a fight at the Lounge Inn nightclub in Southport on Dec. 29.
Adriano escapes ban
Inter striker Adriano has escaped a possible two-game ban after scoring the opener with his arm in Sunday’s 2-1 win over AC Milan. There was insufficient proof that the Brazilian had deliberately intended to commit a handball, the Italian league’s disciplinary unit said in a statement on Tuesday after reviewing video evidence. The ball came off his head and then hit his arm before flying into the net in the 28th minute following Maicon’s cross. A similar incident happened in October when Fiorentina’s Alberto Gilardino was banned for two games after it was decided he had deliberately used an arm to score in a 3-1 win at Palermo.
Blues heading to Seattle
Chelsea will visit Seattle to play Major League Soccer newcomer the Sounders in a friendly in July. The English Premier League powerhouse will be tuning up for next season, while the Sounders will be taking time out of their first year in the US’ top division. Chelsea played an MLS All-Star team in 2006, and visited the US again in 2007 to face the LA Galaxy. Chelsea also visited Seattle in 2004, playing Scotland’s Celtic. The Blues also played the Sounders of the North American Soccer League in 1977 and beat a local group of amateurs in 1967.
China to re-launch league
China is set to re-launch its professional league seven years after shelving it following renewed interest generated by its world-beating national team. Six to eight clubs, with no less than 10 players each, would compete in the league, slated to start before the end of the year, said Liu Fengyan, director of the Chinese Badminton and Table Tennis Administration. The league was halted seven years ago because of cost pressures. Liu said that the league would help China retain top players and coaches who might be tempted by higher salaries overseas. Cut-throat competition at the top level has seen elite Chinese players desert the country for foreign leagues.
Benaud to hang up mike
Commentator Richie Benaud announced yesterday he will retire next year, ending nearly a half-century of broadcasting which made him an icon in the sport. “I’ll be doing Australian cricket next year, 2010, but I don’t do any television at all anywhere else now and when I finish next year, then I’ll be doing other things,” Benaud, 78, told local radio. “That’ll be no more television commentary.” The former Australia captain has worked in the commentary box since retiring from Test cricket in 1964, working for Australian and British television. Benaud hung up the microphone for British television in 2005.